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Annual Stewardship Partners Meeting creates space for conservation collaboration

<p>More than 170 people gathered on Georgia's coast recently for the 13th annual Stewardship Partners Meeting to share new conservation ideas and best practices and tour a longleaf pine restoration project. The meeting was co-hosted by Southern Company and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF).</p>
<p>A diverse group of attendees within natural resource management across the country - including state and federal agencies, educational institutions, private industry and nonprofit groups - met with employees from Southern Company and each of its subsidiaries. Highlights included updates on two Southern Company/NFWF partnership programs - Longleaf Stewardship Fund and Power of Flight.</p>
<p>&quot;These events and the number of people who are coming here are a testament to the fact that networking and conversation in the conservation community are key,&quot; said Holly Bamford, NFWF's chief conservation officer. &quot;The commitment of Southern Company is exemplary. (The company and its subsidiaries) are truly visionaries and leaders in conservation.&quot;</p>
<p>Southern Company is the foundation's second longest-serving corporate partner, going back to 2003.</p>
<p>&quot;This gathering is one of the most important things we do every year,&quot; said Chief Environmental Officer Larry Monroe. &quot;It's just so beneficial, and we love doing it.&quot;</p>
<p>On the meeting's last day, attendees visited Altama Plantation, a state wildlife management area within the Lower Altamaha River watershed that supports a wide array of biologically diverse ecosystems. Designated as one of the &quot;Last Great Places&quot; by The Nature Conservancy, the Lower Altamaha is undammed for its entirety and boasts the highest-documented number of rare plants, animals and natural community occurrences in Georgia.</p>
<p>The area speaks to collaborative efforts to protect existing longleaf pine forests and convert traditional pine plantations to longleaf pine, tidal wetlands and inland maritime forests.</p>
<p>&quot;Environmental stewardship and collaborative conservation are vital ways to fulfill our core values,&quot; said Jim Kerr, general counsel and chief compliance officer. &quot;These concepts are programmed into our DNA as an organization. Our business is to make the Southeast a better place to live, period. And it's not just for our customers - it's where we live, too.&quot;</p>